Cyrname tops Charlie Hall contenders

Last year’s winner Cyrname heads eight entries for the Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old is, however, on something of a retrieval mission on Saturday.

Having looked right back to his best in Yorkshire last October, Cyrname failed to complete in two subsequent outings – at Kempton in the King George and at Ascot.

Dan Skelton has started the season in good form with notable wins for Third Time Lucki and Allmankind over the weekend, and he has been aiming second-season chaser Shan Blue at this race for some time.

A talented novice, he won the Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day and was second in two other Grade Ones.

Tom George’s Clondaw Castle brings solid handicap form to the table, and was also second at the top level to Clan Des Obeaux at Aintree in April – albeit beaten 26 lengths.

Scottish National winner Mighty Thunder, Nicky Henderson’s Fusil Raffles, Phil Kirby’s Top Ville Ben, the Christian Williams-trained Kitty’s Light and Henry Daly’s mare Chilli Filli complete the list.

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The bet365 Hurdle, better known as the West Yorkshire Hurdle, has attracted 12 entries – including Paisley Park.

Last season was up and down for Emma Lavelle’s stable star, winning the Long Walk but ending the season pulled up behind Thyme Hill at Aintree.

Another previous Stayers’ Hurdle winner, Lisnagar Oscar, has been given the option by Rebecca Curtis.

Nicholls has entered Master Tommytucker, better known as a chaser but unbeaten in two outings over hurdles, while Skelton could run Proschema and Molly Ollys Wishes – who also has an entry in the bet365 Mares’ Hurdle.

There is also an Irish entry in the shape of the Charles Brynes-trained Run For Oscar.

While rain is forecast towards the end of the week at Wetherby, it would be most welcome.

Clerk of the course Jonjo Sanderson said: “We’re due heavy rain Thursday and into Friday morning, but once that has passed through it looks dry.

“They are saying there could be up to 15-20 millimetres in that band, which would be most welcome.

“We’re finishing off a second cycle of irrigation today, so it will have had nigh on an inch of water since Thursday-Friday.

“Tomorrow we’ll take a look and see what that rain looks like – if it’s disappeared or halved or whatever – and we’ll decide whether to water again.

“We’ve pretty much got the full range of good ground, good to soft down the back and and bit quicker up the home straight – but it’s been like that since the (configuration) change many years ago.”

The anticipated return of Cyrname will be an obvious highlight at the weekend.

Sanderson added: “It’s nice to see Cyrname back again for the Charlie Hall.

“The (entry) numbers are about what we’d expect, but the hurdle race numerically looks stronger than usual – which is great to see.

“With two previous Stayers’ Hurdle winners in there, hopefully at least one of them will run.”

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